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Sediment carbon sink in low-density temperate eelgrass meadows (Baltic Sea)
Jankowska, E.; Michel, L.; Zaborska, A.; Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, M. (2016). Sediment carbon sink in low-density temperate eelgrass meadows (Baltic Sea). Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 121(12): 2918-2934.
In: Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences. AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION: Washington. ISSN 2169-8953; e-ISSN 2169-8961, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    blue carbon sink;coastal carbon biogeochemistry;ecosystem services;ecosystem engineers;eelgrass meadows

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  • Jankowska, E.
  • Michel, L.
  • Zaborska, A.
  • Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, M.

    Seagrass meadows are highly productive habitats that can act as “blue carbon sinks” in coastal ecosystems by facilitating sedimentation and trapping particles. However, the magnitude and occurrence of these effects may be species and density dependent. The present study is the first estimation of seagrass sediment carbon sink in the temperate Zostera marina beds in the Baltic Sea. Several descriptors of organic matter characteristics, along with possible organic matter sources in the sediment were compared at vegetated and unvegetated bottoms. The 210Pb dating of the sediment has been used for accumulation rate assessment. The photopigments and POC concentrations in sediments were higher in vegetated bottoms. The SIAR (Stable Isotopes in R) mixing model based on nitrogen and carbon stable isotope values, indicated that higher percentages of organic matter originated from seagrass production in vegetated sediments (40–45%) compared to unvegetated ones (5–21%). The carbon stock in the upper 10 cm of the vegetated sediments ranged from 50.2 ± 2.2 to 228.0 ± 11.6 (g m−2), whereas the annual C accumulation amount from 0.84 ± 0.2 to 3.85 ± 1.2 (g m−2 yr−1). Our study shows that even the relatively weakly developed vegetation of the small temperate seagrass species enhance organic carbon concentration in the sediments. Estimated carbon stock was much lower than those reported for most of the seagrass meadows elsewhere, and the carbon burial rate was the lowest ever reported. Evidently, the global calculations of sediment carbon stock should be reconsidered by taking into account density and species-related variability.

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